Terrible Outcome After Airline Forces Mother to Send Breast Milk to Checked Baggage
The cooler with spoiled breast milk (their courier complained of the smell) arrived that night at 11:30 p.m. Emily couldn't bear to dispose of the dozens of ounces of milk and left it to her husband to do so. Even after disposing of the bags outside, the smell hit Emily the moment she stepped outside for work the next day, a heartbreaking reminder of what she had lost.
While many nursing moms maintain a freezer full of spare milk for their babies, Emily has never been able to have more than a few feedings worth as backup. Despite pumping for several years, it's not easy for Emily, who barely maintains enough of a supply to feed her babies (and often ends up supplementing with formula). The milk she was returning with from Europe was pumped to replace her entire freezer backup storage that her son had gone through while mom was away. She told me, "If I get sick now, I'm tapped. I have no more extra milk. Bringing home five days worth of milk can get us through an illness or a growth spurt. Now I have nothing. It's about Sam [her infant son] and his well-being. It took so much work, energy and time to put that milk in bags and carry it across the world. It's so infuriating that I didn't get any help [from Italian authorities or Lufthansa]. I was prevented from feeding my baby. It's the worst feeling."
After their return home and countless calls, emails and social media communications with Lufthansa, the Coopers are furious. Not only was their milk spoiled, but Lufthansa has yet to make any kind of formal acknowledgement of the Coopers' experience, let alone extend an apology. Although one Lufthansa employee was incredulous at the experience on a social media posting (below), the airline has refused to even share with the Coopers their policies. Posts made to the Lufthansa Facebook pages by Rory have been deleted and ignored by the social media team. Tweets have been answered with a canned response regarding a form, which the Coopers had filled out several times already, with no communication in return. In response to the experience, Rory shared their story on Facebook with the warning "Nursing moms deserve better." Indeed they do.